A Periodic Newsletter of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association
Vol. 14 #2
Editor of Inbrief Tasha Sossamon Taylor Graphic Design Anna Hubbard
Young Lawyers Section Chair: Anthony W. Juneau Chair-Elect: Brandon K. Moffitt Sec-Treas: Courtney Crouch Immediate Past Chair: Gwendolyn L. Rucker Executive Council: Central: Tasha Sossamon Taylor (2010) Brandon K. Moffitt (2011) Grant M. Cox (2012) South and East: J. Edward (“Eddy”) Doman (2010) John Houseal (2011) Brian M. Clary (2012)
in this issue YLS News
Social Media: A Friend or Foe to Your Practice by Mandy Thomas
Lightening Round Practice Tips: 3 Qualities of a Good Criminal Defense Attorney 7 by Justin Eisele Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting 8 YLS Column by Anthony W. Juneau
Northwestern: Vicki S. Vasser (2010) L. Matt Davis (2011) Brian R. Lester (2012) At Large Representatives: Brendan T. Monaghan (2010) Cliff McKinney (2011) Melissa N. Sawyer (2012) Law Student Representatives: University of Arkansas at Fayetteville School of Law: Malcolm Means UALR William H. Bowen School of Law: Kimberly Eden
Become a fan! Join the Group! Arkbar Young Lawyers Section
Introducing NEW ArkBar member benefits Learn more about the new ArkBar Member Benefits at the Annual Meeting
New member benefit
www.arkbar.com New Web site Training Welcome to Your Member Portal June 10th & 11th 9:00 - 9:30 a.m. & 1:00 - 1:30 p.m. Cypress Room, Arlington 2nd Floor Learn the new user-friendly intuitive
New member benefit
The Next Generation of Online Legal Research fastcase Training June 10th & 11th 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. Cypress Room, Arlington 2nd Floor One-hour of CLE
YLS In brief
Fastcase will be the Associationâ€™s new Online Legal Research Benefit replacing Arkansas VersusLaw beginning in July. You will have access to comprehensive data and a variety of new tools that make legal research much easier and faster. You can search any number of jurisdictions at the same time, sort the search results six different ways, and print or save it in dual-column format.
YLS Events at the Annual Meeting Friday, June 11, 2010 Financial Planning for Young Lawyers 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Fountain Room Arlington Hotel
Calvin Biggers Matthew White Imagine your practice without you, without your partner, without a valuable employee. Consider how these changes could affect you, your family, and the families of your clients and employees permanently. Join us as we address what is necessary for the preservation of your success.
YLS Section Meeting 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Fountain Room Arlington Hotel Enjoy refreshments while you vote on the following new officers -- YLS Chair-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer & District Representatives
Hats Off Kurt J. Meredith, his wife, Georgia, and their son, Carter, welcomed a baby girl, Hollis, to their family on March 26, 2010. Daniel Roda was married to Elizabeth Michael of Lake Village on Saturday, May 8, 2010. Roda recently joined the Davidson Law Firm in Little Rock as a partner. Matthew R. House and Amy Dunn Johnson were named as recipients of the 2010 Hendrix College “Outstanding Young Alumni” Award. Christy Conrad has been named to the Arkansas Trucking Association’s 40 Under 40 Council. Dennis A. Dean, his wife, Christy, and their son, William, welcomed a baby boy, Jason Allen, to their family on May 7, 2010. Lyndsey Weber announces the opening of Weber Law Firm, PLLC at 205 N. College, P.O. Box 1645, Fayetteville, AR 72702. Telephone: 479.966.9810 Fax: 888.777.6940 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.weberlf.com/.
YLS Party on the Terrace 8:00 p.m. The Springs Hotel & Spa one block from the Arlington
If you have information on YLS Members who deserve a “Hat’s Off” or would like to submit ideas for articles, please contact the editor of “In Brief,” Tasha Taylor at email@example.com. Vol.13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief
YLS Party on the Terrace
A great way to wrap up the Annual Meeting Friday, June 11, 2010 8:00 p.m. On the Terrace at The Springs Hotel & Spa one block from the Arlington Fun, Food, Refreshments & DJ!
Social Media: A “Friend” or Foe to Your Practice by Mandy Thomas With the prevalence of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Myspace, Blogspot, and LinkedIn, a new attorney must transition from using those sites as a student to using them as a professional. There has been much debate in the legal community concerning whether social media sites are a help or a hindrance to one’s practice. This article attempts to detail some of the ways such media networks can enhance your practice and the potential pitfalls a newly annointed attorney may encounter through their use. In addition to these practical concerns, an attorney who chooses to use social media should also be aware that the American Bar Association necessarily requires under its Model Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 1.1 that a competent attorney is informed on the risks of social media. Due to the economic downturn, many young attorneys had no choice but to hang out a shingle. Operating on a shoestring, paid advertisement is often not an option for many solo practicioners. However, with the advent of Facebook and LinkedIn, solo practitioners and small firms can benefit greatly from the free advertising and informational sources these media websites can offer through pages dedicated strictly your practice. According to Legal Intelligencer Blog, there are three generally important beneficial aspects of social media to any law practice: First, creating a page solely dedicated to your practice allows a solo or small firm to establish a “brand.” An attorney or small firm can then target its market clientele and structure its posts as informative and constructive to a particular specialty or even just general practice. The page can also announce any events being held for the local legal community or those held specifically for clients. However, new solo practitioners should be very careful to fully understand the limitations that ethical rules place on
attorney advertising and what may or may not be on your page. For more information regarding attorney advertising and the Internet, please refer to Judith Kilpatrick’s article, Arkansas’ Amended Advertising Rules, Solicitation, and the Internet (2000 Arkansas Law Notes 39 (2000)). The American Bar Association also has a plethora of general information articles concerning technology, attorney marketing, and ethics on their website. Second, social media provides a conduit to showcase your practice to clients, potential employers, and fellow attorneys as a platform for efficient networking. Clients can assess your credentials through your business Facebook page, potential employers may see references and recommendations by clients on LinkedIn, and fellow attorneys, particularly solo practitioners, may use it to contact fellow attorneys to cover a conflicting hearing, for example. Obviously, any confidential information should be discussed in an appropriate manner away from the webpage. Third, social media potentially holds the attorney to a higher degree of professionalism with practice and personal information available at a potential or current client’s keystroke. Advising family, friends, and significant others of proper posting on your pages, keeps your personal life and your professional life in their respective proper places, at least out of the curiosity of your clients.
Over the past ten years, “social media” has made it socially acceptable to overshare the mundane details of everyday life. Because of the lack of generally expected privacy, these websites can be a treasure trove of information on your clients, opposing parties, and even opposing counsel. One of my colleagues, for example, regularly uses Facebook for investigation purposes on family law cases. A quick name search on Facebook may return a detailed profile complete with picture of the opposing or offending party. Depending on a particular person’s privacy settings, there may be carte blanche access to pictures, wall posts, and personal information on any number of related matters. Maybe a potential defendant is actively avoiding service? Facebook and Myspace often show a person’s current city, regardless of privacy settings. Pictures may also give background into a persons assets and general level of finances. Romantic involvement and the social activities of the parent petitioning for full custody may also be evident, which may make or break a divorce case. While oversharing bodes well for investigative purposes, it can wreak havoc on a practice if a client posts confidential information about their case. Although social media is far from novel, posts on such web-
Mandy Thomas is an Associate Attorney at Pryor, Robertson, Beasley & Smith in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She practices bankruptcy, collections, estate planning, and general civil litigation. For questions or comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vol. 13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief
sites are no less dangerous to a practice if not advised and managed properly. A prudent new attorney would add to their representation agreements and initial client meeting checklist to advise clients, regardless of age or matter, that posts about their case on personal webpages may void the attorney-client privilege. It may also be worth a couple of minutes of a billable hour to scour a client’s personal websites to ensure confidentiality remains intact. It would certainly avoid an unpleasant surprise when a defense counsel quotes a medical malpractice client’s tweets in a letter responding to a settlement demand. What about an attorney’s ability to overshare? While almost all attorneys enjoy the opportunity to talk to a large audience about ourselves and our practice, posting too much or in too much detail may run afoul of Arkansas Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6 regarding confidentiality of information. A new attorney might ask exactly how much detail is too much? The Arkansas Bar Committee on Professional Conduct has yet to issue an opinion regarding an attorney’s breach of ARPC 1.6, but that doesn’t mean a young lawyer should test the limits of the rule. Posting in too much detail may also garner unwanted attention. For example, after one of my colleagues posted generally about filing several lawsuits in one day, he received a call from the local media asking if any of those lawsuits were newsworthy. Responding in the negative, he quickly deleted the statement and now merely posts pithy objective comments regarding his practice. If you need any further warning against posting more personal adventures and they may come back to haunt an attorney in their practice, please see a recent article published July 31, 2009 in the ABA Journal Law News Now. All of these oversharing considerations additionally apply to support staff as well. In small practices and smaller towns, it would not be unprecented for a secretary to write something disparaging regarding a difficult client and have the remarks find their way to the client. A current practice, regardless of size, would most likely benefit from a social media policy. For more information on such polices and the balance struck between business and social media, please go to 123 Social Media’s website. n 6
YLS In brief
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Practice Tip Lightening Round Practice Tips: 3 Qualities of a Good Criminal Defense Attorney by Justin Eisele Know your Issues. As a former prosecutor, I always respected defense attorneys who really read the file thoroughly and only filed motions that had some chance of success/merit. It is tempting for a defense attorney to blow through a case and plead the client out before spending adequate time reviewing the file. Some big issues (just the high points) you must ALWAYS look for:
• 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment Issues (Search and Seizure, Miranda, Confrontation Clause, etc.). • Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure Issues. • Scientific Challenges (Anything from the Arkansas State Crime Lab should be looked over with a fine tooth comb. Also, if possible, the retention of an expert is advised for purposes of doing a review of the crime lab results).
Be a Good Nibbler. One of the fine arts of defense attorney work is what I call “nibbling.” When your client is willing to accept his guilt, it is imperative that you are a skilled nibbler. In most cases a prosecutor is going to have an opening offer. There are some offers that are “drop dead” offers. However, with skilled advocacy you should be able to slightly modify the offer in a way that will still be acceptable to the prosecutor. This can be of great benefit for your client. Some ideas would be:
• Ask that a low grade felony be reduced to a misdemeanor (your client may have played a minor role in the crime . . . or may have absolutely no criminal history)
• Ask that probation be shortened so that the client can more quickly reintegrate into society as a productive citizen. • Reduce the number of counts in the plea. If your client pleads to numerous counts, he may be eligible for habitual offender sen-
tencing (God forbid he gets in any trouble again) the next time he gets in trouble. As a habitual offender, his sentencing exposure is much, much greater.
Know your sentencing. Most nerdy lawyers love the thought of filing an exquisite motion and brief that will result in their client’s case being dismissed (insert Law & Order gonging noise here). However, it is likely your client is going to be most focused on one particular question: “what is my sentence going to be?” I cannot tell you the source of all the sentencing law in such a short article. However, if you can’t answer the following questions, find someone who can:
• • • •
Am I looking at jail or prison time? Can I have this conviction expunged or sealed? Is this offense “above the line” or “below the line?” Is this crime a “Seventy-Percenter?”
The bottom line is this: really great defense attorneys are not dabblers. If you are a little light on experience then you should seek cocounsel who is or refer the matter to a competent practitioner who is capable. Criminal defense practice is extremely rewarding. However, always be mindful that your client’s life and liberty are in the balance. n
Justin Eisele is a former deputy prosecutor. He currently handles federal and state criminal cases at his firm, Justin Eisele, P.A. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Vol. 14 No. 1 YLS In brief
Arkansas Bar Association 112th Annual Meeting Joint Meeting with the Arkansas Judicial Council June 9-12, 2010
Raising the Bar
with Tradition, Integrity & Trust
The Arkansas Bar Association has an honored tradition of making a difference in the lives of Arkansans. Its mission includes fostering and maintaining on the part of attorneys the high ideals of integrity, competence, and honor of the legal profession. Whether you are a senior partner, a solo practitioner, in-house counsel, a government attorney, or a young lawyer, this year’s Annual Meeting will undoubtedly have something for you. With the 2010 Annual Meeting, we have not only raised the bar with new tracks and additional venues, but also with programming designed to enhance both your personal and professional lives. In addition to the customary four tracks – family, professional development, litigation/trial and business – there will be a broad spectrum of CLE that will cover a host of topics designed to educate you on various facets of your practice, including law practice management, public service, appellate advocacy, technology, and much more. We will have our first “State of the Arkansas Judiciary” address delivered by Chief Justice Hannah, along with a keynote program with nationally-recognized speaker Robin Crow on the power of service through leadership. We will discuss how lawyers make a difference through public office with members of the Arkansas legislature, and we have created our very own “CSI Arkansas” classes about the latest information on computer forensics, e-discovery, and crime scene investigation. There will be a “house call” with inhouse counsel from some of the largest companies in the country, and then we will “call the Hogs” with Professor Howard Brill and his presentation on “The Razorbacks, the NCAA and the Law.” Stephen Baskerville will explain the intricacies of “shared parenting” while Charles Owen teaches us how to make “winning presentations.” Of course, no Annual Meeting could be complete without a look at how Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter have changed the way we practice. If this is not enough, wait until you lounge and learn in the Magnolia room and see the “Hollywood” glamour in the Exhibit Hall and at the President’s Gala. The afternoon receptions by the pool are back, and don’t be surprised if you locate a scotch and cigar bar, fashion show, and a few flavorful martinis along the way. Ladies, come be a queen for a day and bring your princess for a special pageantry surprise. The revamped children’s program will celebrate the arts and showcase the kids’ painting, performing, and production abilities. So what are you waiting for? Register now! You don’t want to miss a thing. Hotel Information
Register Now at www.arkbar.com for a discount Please make reservations with the hotel of your choice: Arlington Hotel: (501) 609-2533 Austin Hotel: (877) 623-6697 Embassy Suites: (501) 321-4407
Park Hotel: (800) 895-7275 The Springs Hotel & Spa (newly renovated): (501) 624-5521 The Comfort Suites (free shuttle) (501) 624-3800 You are encouraged to make your reservations early — hotels will book quickly. Ask for the Annual Meeting Group Rate. 8 8
YLS In brief YLS In brief
Watch www.arkbar.com and your e-bulletins for links to more area hotels. Look for the complete Annual Meeting Program in April with more information on speakers and events. CLE credits pending and times subject to change. Go to www.arkbar.com to register with a discount! Cover Art This year’s Annual Meeting artwork honors the Association’s heritage with a spectacular picture mosaic of photographs of the Arkansas Bar Association and Arkansas Bar Foundation presidents. Their individual photos have been combined into a collage overlayed with the Association’s seal symbolizing Tradition, Integrity and Trust since 1898. Look for the large framed artwork at the Annual Meeting. The mosaic was created by www.picutremosaics.com.
Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting Registration Form
Registrant Name: ____________________________________________
Member Online Registration
Supreme Court #: ____________________________________________
Discount for registering at www.arkbar.com
Address: _____________________________________________________ Member Early Registration (Received by May 31)
____ @ $250 EACH
Member Registration (Received After May 31)
____ @ $300 EACH
____ @ $450 EACH
____ @ $35 EACH
City: __________________________ State: __________ Zip:__________ Phone: (______) ____________________ Fax: ______________________
Law Student Section Member Badge Name: __________________________________________________ Please ✔ check for ribbons: Young Lawyer Past President Foundation Fellow House of Delegates Assn. Sustaining Member ABF Sustaining Fellow Board of Governors Judge Legislator
Registration Includes all CLE Programs (except CNA), Electronic Course Materials, Receptions, Continental Breakfasts, Luncheons, Breaks, Hospitality Area, Exhibit Center, & Entertainment. CNA Risk Management for Lawyers Program Wednesday Afternoon 1:30 Separate Registration
____ @ $90 EACH
____ @ $50 EACH
Child(ren)’s Name(s): _________________________________________
Guest or Spouse Registration (Optional events and course material not included)
Registered Spouse/Guest Badge Information Spouse/Guest Name: ________________________________________
2010 Annual Meeting Three Easy Ways to Register: Online: Fax:
Hot Springs Convention Center Attn: Elaine Musil P.O. Box 6000 Hot Springs, AR 71902
Meeting Registration Subtotal
@ $20 First Child
@ $10 Each Additional Child $ __________
*Non-members -- save on registration fee by joining the Association. For more information call (501) 375-4606 or (800) 609-5668.
Discount for registering online!
Ladies Small & Tall Royal Treatment ____ @ $20 Each Thurs. & Friday afternoon
Gentlemen’s Scotch & Cigars Thurs. & Friday afternoon
____ @ $20 Each
$ ___________ $ ___________
President’s Friday Night Gala Dinner, Desserts, Dancing
REGISTRATION DESK: Registration will be held in the Arlington Exhibit Hall and the Hot Springs Convention Center.
Desserts and Dancing only
____ @ $25 Each ____ @ $10 Each
EVALUATIONS: Please tell us what you think of the meeting by taking the online evaluation during or following the meeting. We will email you the link.
Optional Events Subtotal
ADDITIONAL REGISTRATIONS: Look for the Wednesday afternoon golf tournament and Friday morning 5K registrations on www.arkbar.com.
HOTEL RESERVATIONS: Go to www.arkbar.com for a complete listing of area hotels. CANCELLATIONS - Full refunds, less a $50 administrative charge, will be given to registrants whose cancellation is received at least two weeks before the program begins. If you do not cancel and do not attend, you will receive the electronic course materials only.
Card No.: ______________________________________________________ Exp. Date: ______________________________________________________ Daytime Phone #: ______________________________________________ Signature: ______________________________________________________ Make check payable to Arkansas Bar Association
Vol. 14 No. 1 YLS In brief
Arkansas Bar Association 112th Annual Meeting June 9-12, 2010 Arlington Hotel & Hot Springs Convention Center
Best of CLE June 21-25, 2010 Little Rock Best of CLE - Northwest June 29-30, 2010, Springdale
Government Practice Seminar October 1, 2010 Fall Legal Seminar October 21-22, 2010
Professional Practicum November 12, 2010 Legislative Advocacy November 18, 2010 Federal Practice Seminar November 19, 2010
For more information contact Lynne Brown or Kristen Scherm 800-609-5668 or 501-375-4606 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com OR go to www.arkbar.com
YLS In brief
The Arkansas Lawyer
Little Rock â€˘ June 21-25, 2010 30 CLE Hours UALR Bowen School of Law, Little Rock
Northwest â€˘ June 29-30, 2010 12 CLE Hours Embassy Suites, Rogers
Young Lawyers Section Report
by Anthony W. Juneau
Community Service: Our Responsibility ife to
k for ndboo s al Ha n A Leg g Arkansa n You
Law Day May 1, 2010 tion
First Edi ed by Prepar tion
It has been a great honor to serve as the Chair of the Young Lawyers Section (“YLS”) of the Arkansas Bar Association (“Association”) for the 2009-2010 term. Over the last year, the YLS has been engaged in various projects that benefit both the legal community and the citizens of Arkansas. Through the Wills for Heroes Project, the YLS has offered free wills and other estate planning documents to Arkansas police officers. The YLS has also studied several different possible distribution channels for the “18 & Life To Go: A Legal Handbook for Young Arkansans” publication (“Handbook”). The Handbook will provide high school seniors with a brief overview of Arkansas law on topics such as contracts, real estate, torts, family law, and criminal law. The YLS plans to make the Handbook available to all high school students by placing the Handbook in high school libraries and by putting the Handbook on-line in a downloadable format. YLS members Brandon Moffitt, Brian Lester, Matt House, and Grant Cox have done an excellent job in promoting the Wills For Heroes Project and the Handbook this year. On April 15, 2010, the YLS, along with several other organizations, sponsored a Meet the Candidates Forum at Lulav, a restaurant in Little Rock. At this event, YLS members had the opportunity to meet several judicial and Congressional candidates. Due to the number of participants, the YLS will sponsor similar events in the future. Every year, the YLS takes part in various Law Week activities. The purpose of Law Week is to introduce the next generation
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to the legal profession and government. This year, the YLS, along with the Arkansas Paralegal Alliance, Inc. (“APA”) sponsored a poster contest for all 5th graders throughout Arkansas. The YLS encouraged the participants to design a poster illustrating this year’s theme: “Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges.” Twelve of the 125 posters submitted were selected to be displayed in the State Capitol Rotunda during Law Week, April 26-30. The YLS would like to thank the members of the APA for their dedication and hard work in making the poster contest a reality. The Annual Meeting of the Association will be held at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs on June 9-12, 2010. This year, the YLS’s continuing legal education (“CLE”) will be presented by Calvin Biggers and Matthew White in the Fountain Room at 2:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon. Calvin and Matthew will present a program entitled Financial Planning for Young Lawyers. Immediately after the CLE program, the YLS will conduct its annual meeting. As we will have elections at this meeting, I encourage you to attend if you are interested in running for a position on the YLS Executive Committee. On YLS Friday evening, the YLS will sponsor a social event at the Springs Hotel and Spa, which is within walking distance from the Arlington Hotel. The YLS
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will provide food and beverages, while music and a karaoke machine will be provided by a local deejay. This event is open to all attendees of the Annual Meeting. Brandon Moffitt, an attorney from Little Rock, will take the helm of the YLS as its Chair after the Annual Meeting. Brian Clary, an attorney from Benton, has been elected as the Chair-Elect for 2010-2011. Brandon and Brian, as well as the other members of the Executive Committee, have worked hard throughout the past year to serve the Association and the citizens of Arkansas. With Brandon and Brian leading the YLS over the next two years, I have no doubt that the YLS will be sponsoring new and exciting programs and projects in the near future. The YLS consists of all members of the Association who are under the age of thirtysix and/or who have practiced for less than five years. The YLS is always in need of volunteers to assist with its many projects. If you are interested in volunteering your time and abilities to the YLS, please contact me at 479-464-5657 or by e-mail at tjuneau@ mwlaw.com. n
Party on the Terrace Friday, June 11, 2010 8:00 p.m. On the Terrace of The Springs Hotel & Spa one block from the Arlington Sponsored by Dover Dixon Horne PLLC
Fun, Food, Refreshments & DJ!
Vol. 14 No. 1 YLS In brief